Shyamala Gopinath Committee recommendations: Interest rates on FDs offered by Post Offices hiked by 0.2%
The Union Government decided to hike interest rates on fixed deposit schemes offered by post offices by up to 0.2 %. The decision to hike interest rates is taken on the recommendations of Shyamala Gopinath Committee.
As per the Shyamala Gopinath Committee’s recommendations
- The interest rate on fixed deposits for one and two years has been increased to 8.4% from the present 8.2%.
- Fixed deposits of three and five years will earn 0.1% higher rate at 8.4% and 8.5%.
- The interest rate on five-year recurring deposits will be 8.4% from 8.3%.
- The rate on National Savings Scheme (NSC) with 5 and 10 year maturities also remain unchanged at 8.5 % and 8.8 %.
- The rate on five-year Monthly Income Scheme (MIS) remains the same at 8.4 %. The savings deposit rates are kept unchanged at 4 %.
- Though, the interest rate on Public Provident fund (PPF) has been kept unchanged at 8.7 %.
The new interest rates on small savings schemes will come into effect from April 1, 2014.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) granted an additional nine months for the public to exchange currency notes printed before 2005, including Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 denominations, and set a deadline of January 1, 2015. The apex bank stated that the public can continue to freely use these notes for any transaction and people can unhesitatingly receive these notes in payment, as all such notes continue to remain legal tender.
- RBI has advised banks to facilitate the exchange of these notes for full value and without causing any inconvenience to the public.
- Post-2005 notes have added security features and help in curbing the menace of fake currency.
- At present, currency notes are issued in denominations of Rs 5, Rs 10, Rs 20, Rs 50, Rs 100, Rs 500 and Rs 1,000.
Note: Earlier, RBI stated that after March 31, 2014, it will completely withdraw all bank notes from circulation issued prior to 2005 and from April 1, 2014, the public will be required to approach banks for exchanging these notes.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved Rs 350/tonne increase in the fixed cost for urea plants in reference to the Group of Minister’s recommendations. For urea plants, the fixed cost includes salary and wage expenses, contract labour, repair and maintenance, and selling costs. This move would lead to increase in subsidy by about Rs. 900 crore. Though, it would not have any impact on urea prices.
Under the New Pricing Scheme (NPS) III, the fixed cost of urea produced by plants which are 30 years old or more by Rs. 150/tonne and for all other plants by Rs 350/tonne. The minimum fixed cost would be Rs 2,300/tonne.
The CCEA also approved modification in the New Investment Policy for the soil nutrient to boost its domestic production.
The New Investment Policy:
- Dropped the ‘guaranteed buyback’ provision that assured buyback of urea for 8 years from start of production.
- Inserted a provision of bank guarantee of Rs. 300 crore from companies keen to set urea plants under this policy.
- Government will provide subsidy on sale of urea produced from the new plants.
Note: In India, Urea production is stagnant at 22 million tonnes and the gap of 8 million tonnes is met through imports. To date, about 4 million tonnes of urea has been imported.
The Indian arm of US retailer Target, Target India launched its Target Accelerator Programme in Bangalore to incubate and provide mentoring to its first batch of five technology start-ups. Target will provide funding of up to $30,000 in cash and operational expenses to each of its incubated ventures.
About Target Accelerator Programme (TAP)
- Objective: Target’s program is designed to help early-stage startups to develop ideas that could improve the retail giant’s business and the broader retail industry.
- Focus: on incubating startups operating in the areas of mobile, content, social, search, data and analytics.
- Runs for four-months in Target India’s Bangalore office and will annually incubate four to five startups in the mobile, social media and big data analytics segment.
- The selected startups will also be mentored and provided with business tools and operational support.
Five shortlisted startups of the first batch of Target Accelerator Programme (TAP):
- Turnaround Innovision: A website that helps in rotating 3D images to display products on host websites.
- Konotor: A two way communication channel between a client and their mobile app users.
- MuHive Technologies: A startup that offers a social engagement platform to help organisations simplify their social conversations.
- Unbxd Inc: Enables personalised searches, product recommendations and website navigation.
- Instaclique: by Nirmantra Technologies helps organisations to integrate social media conversations online to decrease website bounce rates and increase customer engagement.
The Target Accelerator Programme is the first such programme launched globally by the Minneapolis head quartered retail behemoth.